Preparing to welcome a new baby means having lots on your to-do list, from doctor’s appointments to shopping. Many of the things you need to purchase will end up in your nursery, but all the options can feel overwhelming, and it's hard to know what's essential, what's recommended, and what's just for show.
Once you’ve prepped a safe and cozy sanctuary for you and your infant, you’ll feel more relaxed and ready for the big day.
You can opt for a mini crib or choose one that will grow with your child. Go with vertical slats and stationary sides for enhanced safety. And if you're thrifting, ensure the crib was manufactured after June 2011, when new safety standards were set.
New or old, once it's set up, run your hands around the frame and check that there aren't any rough edges or dangerous screws poking out.
Less is more when it comes to bedding. It can be tempting to buy all the stuffed toys that have ever existed, but soft toys don't just add clutter and more things to wash; they increase the risk of suffocation.
Choose a swaddle rather than a blanket or crib bumper to keep your little one cozy and safe, and make sure the mattress fits snugly, and as intended, in the crib.
While not a must-have, changing tables do double duty as convenient storage. You'll want to get one that's a comfortable height for you as you bend over your baby. A safety belt will keep them safe so you can feel comfortable reaching for diapers and other supplies.
Choose a model that has no chance of toppling over, ideally one that can be anchored to the wall.
New parents might not realize just how much space a tiny baby requires for all their clothing, cleaning and feeding implements, and diapers. The last thing you need is to trip over loose items in the dark, so make clean-up easy with a dresser or versatile storage.
Plan your nursery layout so that essentials are within easy reach of you and not your baby, and furniture doesn't pose a hazard. Anchor anything that could tip, and beware of toy chests with heavy lids that can slam on fingers once your baby becomes more mobile.
Think again if you have your eye on a gorgeous white glider and carpet combo. They might look minimalist and effortlessly chic now, but when the baby enters the picture, they'll be a nightmare to clean and won't age well. You might not love the finish, but slipcovers in stain-friendly colors are your friend, as are waterproof pieces and washable wallpaper.
There are so many baby-related gizmos on the market these days that it can often feel overwhelming. The reality is that parents have been raising babies for millennia without the fancy high-tech stuff. When buying big-ticket items, weigh up the pros and cons, including how simple it might be to sell something your baby quickly outgrows.
Some basic accessories that may serve you well:
You'll be spending a lot of time in this chair, so it needs to epitomize comfort and support and be padded in all the right places. Look for a wide chair that won't make noise as you sit down and get up. If the chair rocks, swivels, has a USB charging port, and a matching ottoman, all the better.
Place your feeding chair close to the crib to make putting your baby down once they fall asleep a straightforward process.
For safety reasons, consider a window guard and cordless blinds. Whether they're for the curtains or the electronics, keep in mind that cords are a strangling hazard.
Your blinds or curtains need to be able to mimic nighttime and block out street lights to help your baby sleep. Avoid placing the crib too near an unprotected window, both for safety and warmth.
With accessible information and better access to a wide variety of products, you can make healthier choices. For example, you can source rugs and paints that don't emit high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, be mindful of where you hang art and mobiles with parts that a baby could choke on. There should be zero possibility of something falling into the crib.
It can be easy to get carried away, but you'll be less likely to overspend on the nursery if you take some time to plan. If, however, you do end up forking out a little more than anticipated, don't beat yourself up. Navigating parenthood is a learning curve, especially for new parents.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.